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Local restaurant owner talks tipping ahead of Trump administration proposed changes

The Trump administration proposed a Labor Department rule change for workers who get paid in tips. The change would allow employers to ask workers earning at least the federal minimum wage to share tips with colleagues who don't get tips. (Megan Sanchez/KRCG 13)

At Downtown Diner in Jefferson City, co-owner Cory Eikermann does a little bit of everything. From managing, working in the kitchen and cooking, she does it all-- and gets tipped for it.

The Trump administration proposed a Labor Department rule change for workers who get paid in tips.

The change would allow employers to ask workers earning at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 to share their tips with colleagues who don't collect gratuities.

The change may affect Missouri workers, where the server minimum wage is $3.85.

This means that in restaurant settings, waiters would need to share their tips with dish washers, bar backs and cooks. The change would also allow managers to use tips to make "structural improvements" or lower menu prices.

Eikermann said as someone who has done a lot of serving, she would be irritated if someone who never interacted with her table got to keep a chunk of the change.

"That's part of my living wage, my minimum wage as a server," she said. "Part of that [would be] going to somebody who's getting paid probably double what I am, and didn't do anything to earn it aside from what their job title was."

She said since they run such a small business, servers will sometimes split tips with a dish washer if they helped serve the table -- for big groups and rush hours. However, she said if they didn't help serve, they don't get the tip.

"A lot of our cooks in the back will come out and help wait on a table if we need them to," she said. "And then we do give them the tips."

Some worker's rights groups have spoken out saying this system could result in lower pay for employees.

The proposed change would reverse an Obama-era rule that tips could only be pooled among other employees who earned gratuities.

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